So, I started my period at what? Age 12? I’m now twenty six. While maths might not be my speciality, I think it’s pretty safe to assume I’ve been enjoying this marvellous, God-given gift from Mother Nature for approximately 12 years. That’s 12 periods a year, for 14 years. Now if 12 x 14 = 168 then you’d think by now I’d be fully prepared for the onslaught of symptoms that smack me right in the face on the 18th of every month. Think again. If this was the case then my Google search history would not be filled with the same, bizarre questions, every single time I’m due on, as though these ‘MYSTICAL’ side effects have just appeared from nowhere.
Take this for example. I wake up on a Wednesday morning, mid-December, after what I can only describe as the world’s worst night’s sleep. Windows wide open, snow wafting on in and yet it still somehow feels like the height of summer. After tossing and turning for three hours I finally throw my duvet across the room in utter rage, clamber out of my pyjamas and lie there, panting and naked spread out like a starfish. Suddenly I feel a wave of nausea come over me. Rather than immediately recognise that this is something I’ve endured on a monthly basis for the past 12 years, I take to Google Chrome for an alternative explanation. My search history looks a little something like this:
Ya see. Now what I honestly believe I’m really after is the reassurance that everybody else feels just like I do. I desperately seek out articles that endlessly list the symptoms of PMS, I wanna read blogs about people who are also suffering with bloaty head syndrome, I wanna know how hormones work and which ones are causing me to feel like a bag of shit. I want herbal remedies, magical pills and tips on how to curb my Nutella cravings.
So I decided to write this post as a little piece of reassurance for you women out there who so often find themselves wondering why they suddenly bear a striking resemblance to Amanda Bynes circa 2013 and have the appetite of a small horse.
Well, here it is… you’re not alone and we do in fact many of us feel exactly the same. We all go slightly crazy sometimes. We’re all guilty of having a little cry over the Lloyds TSB advert or the sight of an old person struggling to carry their shopping. And that guy on the bus who swung his laptop bag and hit you right in the womb? We all want to punch him in the face too. We all eat our body weight in Oreo Dairy Milk and wonder why we don’t feel sick yet. We all sit on the kitchen surface eating cereal with our bare hands whilst declaring to our flat mate “I just don’t know what’s got in to me, like I just can’t stop eating at the moment like this is sooo unlike me like this is totally weird!” as you spray crunchy nut clusters at them. We all do abnormal shit like plaster a load of peanut butter on a piece of ham and wonder if we’re pregnant, even though we’ve not had sex in weeks. We all think uncharacteristically cruel thoughts and mumble “for fucks sake” when small innocent children run under our feet. Many of us have sore tits, sensitive nipples and acne in weird places. We feel like someone is ripping out our fallopian tubes and end up straddling our hot water bottles after spending 6 hours in the bath. And you know what? It’s okay! It happens. (A little too often in my opinion, but still. It just does.)
You don’t need to make excuses. You don’t need to apologise for looking like the uglier, greasier, male version of yourself because your eyes are puffy and your make-up somehow manages to slide off your face before you’ve even finished applying it. And you definitely don’t need to apologise for hiding under your duvet and refusing to wear a bra. I will never apologise for all the times I’ve called in to work sick so I could enjoy a day dedicated to bleeding in bed while binge watching Vampire Diaries.
It’s easy to beat yourself up when you feel ridiculously hungry, bloated and tired. And the best thing to do in these circumstances is forgive yourself. It’s really not your fault. It won’t last forever, and by this time next week you’ll be right back to chirpy old self without a care in the world.
If you’re suffering with an eating disorder and find that this time of the month really throws you off, it may well be that your PMS is playing a huge part in making you feel guilty around food. I know that this was definitely the case for me. This is especially significant for those of you who tend to starve yourself or diet for the rest of the month, since these restrictions are actually causing you to eat even more than you normally would during a binge on all of those ‘forbidden’ foods. For every single diet, there is an equal opposing binge. The extent and ferocity with which you binge is directly proportional to the extent to which you restrict what you eat. (Makes sense right?) SO THEN, this may well explain how eating nothing but cherry tomatoes and ryvita for weeks on end eventually results in one entire night dedicated to non-stop scoffing.
Naturally this will lead to feelings of insufferable guilt as OH NO you ‘broke your diet’, plus the fact that you’re already feeling pretty shit, thus resulting in the need to throw it all up (So you don’t ‘get fat’.) It took me 10 years to realise I was doing it all wrong. As soon as I balanced my diet, stopped worrying about calories, stopped obsessing over my pedometer app and calculating how many miles I’d walked that day, and let my body have the nourishment it so desperately needed, these monthly cravings significantly decreased. My body wasn’t crying out for chocolate any more. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely still get those urges to eat way more carbs than usual, but by choosing to eat lots of fish and nuts and oil and avocadoooos yeaaa (I used to think these were the devil. Way too much ‘good fat’), my body has the fuel it needs and so rather than inhaling a family size bar of galaxy, I’m now pretty content with my freddo. And if I do go a bit over board, so what? Balance my friend. What a wonderful thing 🙂
Oh, and if you want to know how it feels to be truly free, do yourself a favour and throw away your scales. Of course you’re gonna be half a stone heavier right before you come on! Weighing yourself is like a form of Chinese torture. Just don’t do it.
HEART YOU ALL & HAPPY BLEEDING.